Picture it now. Its gaming day and everyone has found their way from addresses across the city to arrive at their gracious host’s abode. Chairs are pulled up around a table; lights are dialed to a hue conducive to both setting the mood and having everyone able to read their sheets. You’re excited. Today, this scratched wooden table and creaky faux leather chairs will be transformed into the background for the stuff of legends.
But being legendary works up one’s appetite… Yet, what ho?! You’re in luck! Someone brought snacks! If you are anything like me, then this is the perfect recipe for gaming: Put friends around table, combine equal parts comedy and drama, add a cup of snacks, stir and enjoy. Today’s quintessential list is to illuminate gamers everywhere of the 6 essential elements of eating etiquette (alliterative gamer edition).
1. Don’t Double Dip
Say it with me now: “I will not double dip the chip in the dip.” I may or may not be the only one at the table who thinks this is gross. But my contacts worldwide assure me that there is an invisible empire of those who take a stand against the double dipping of chips, vegetables and unsuspecting slow-dance partners. The reasoning driving this anti-double dip movement is quite simple: the hand to mouth pathway was designed to be one-way. This means there is no reason to stick your fingers in your mouth when eating, as this creates an undesigned return journey. If you break this law of nature by taking that half-quarantine-worthy food that was in your acid pit and put it back into a communal fluid container, its like forcing the rest of us through some sort of salivary right of passage. The only difference is, rights of passage should happen only once…anything more than that looks very similar to conversion-torture.
2. Purifying your Provision Procuring Paws.
Ah the finger lick, made famous by Sisqó (that’s what he was talking about, right?). In addition to violating the one-way street mentioned above, here’s something else to think about. The next time you are bringing a doomed cheezie to your Sarlaccian pit, and it leaves some of its sticky cheese entrails on your fingers: resist that urge… You know the one- that subtle, easy and so-divine moistening of your fingers between your sumptuous lips. The gaming table is not the place, time, or suitable companions for this type of behavior. You will inadvertently make eye contact with your friend across the table with your digit firmly in your mouth. Trust me, there are some things you just can’t unsee.
[A word to the wise- it turns out this awkward phenomenon applies to eating popsicles as well]
3. Foul Fetid and Funky Fragrances
Us gamers move bowels like we’re getting paid by the pound. Hey, it’s not our fault we’re prematurely ready for hibernation! But there is also a dark side to our bodies… we are known to pick our noses and scabs as we pick our heroic feats, we mindlessly scratch our butts like it’s a favorite animal, and then there are the farts…oh the farts… Many gamers still carry scars from those pungent chemical spills, and the concomitant acute oxygen deprivation <shudder>.
And lets not forget here to mention that body odor is not miraculously cured by two swipes of deodorant – especially on hot summer days, or marathon gaming sessions. The challenge I issue to every player: find those mystical hidden waterfalls, rumored to be lying dormant somewhere in nigh every castle. These waterfalls should manifest themselves at least every 24 hours, and if fortune smiles upon you, there may be some elixir that you can anoint your body with, thereby further fortifying your constitution (at least in scent).
4. Sweet, Salty Salmagundian Sustenance
There is a law of diminishing returns with snacks, which is easily remedied by variety. The sweet is never as sweet without the salty. And the salty isn’t as salty without the sweet. There’s a life lesson in there somewhere, I’m sure. Of course, this excludes the [ insert DM’s favorite snack bribe] which can also serve as an opportunity for revenge, but mix it up a bit for your fellow gamers. Some popular choices are: pizza pops, nachos, gummies, chocolate almonds, jellybeans, garlic bread, kettle cooked anything, and butter toffee covered anything. This will help ensure maximum caloric intake for you and your friends. Now, although I’m no doctor, I’m pretty sure those calories are metabolized by the imagination and thereafter transferred from player to character, enabling maximum heroism.
5. Swiper sans Swiping
Think: what would Dora the Explorer say about your snacking habits? Are you the Swiper of your group’s snack table? Here’s a checklist to see if you’re a snacking rogue:
- Do you only take snacks when no one is looking?
- Do you only eat and never contribute to the stash?
- Do you swiftly snatch seconds hoping nobody notices?
- Do you hide food in your pockets or game bag?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you may be a snacking rogue. Be aware, because adult Dora the Explorer might come after you…
6. Beware Beverage Bifurcation
To beer or not to beer, that is the question.
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous (DM decisions),
Or to take up arms against a sea of troubles,
And, (by drinking heartily), end them.
---Hamlet (revised Dustinopolis edition)
Myself? I like a good brew with gaming- but the key word there is “a” (or maybe “a +1”). Very rarely does my role playing experience take a turn for the better with more drinking (although the potential for laughter-induced nasal eruptions rises considerably) Pop, coffee, hot chocolate and tea are all great alternatives to the wobbly pops. Ultimately it depends a great deal on your group makeup- some people want lowered inhibitions to get their game flowing. Other people want caffeine to jump-start their creativity. The rest just need enough liquid to prevent dehydration from seas of salty goodness.
One point to note is that DMs should always keep their “wits” sharp, as controlling groups of players (especially ones imbibing) is like trying to herd cats. Consider the following evidence: players constantly ignoring the DM’s suggestions, players physically leaving the room at inconvenient times, and players “accidentally” knocking their dice off the table. These feline tendencies are regular hurdles in most gaming groups and, like any physical exercise, drinking alcohol makes them that much more difficult to navigate.
So there you have it. Snacking is a process that all players enjoy. So bring a deuce of chips, avoid scratching your butt before plunging your hand into kettle-cooked goodness, keep your saliva in its cave, and say hi to Gene on a regular basis.
Until next time
Keep your dice “20” side up!
Dustinopolis is a regular blogger, full time Netflix watcher, and part time grown up. He has 3 cats that are actively engaged in a psychological warfare campaign against him after he forgot to give them their wet food once…3 weeks ago. You can also not follow him on twitter @devourcheese (millions of users do so).
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.